2013 Sundial Film Festival – Best Novice Action Photograph & People’s Choice Award

The 5th Annual Sundial Film Festival (www.sundialfilmfestival.com) in 2013 was the first photography contest I entered. It is located where I live, in Redding, CA. I submitted three images into the action category of novice photography. This was a big and small step for me in the direction I want and know I am supposed to take this passion and gift of mine. In 2012 I had several conversations with friends, mentors and Hallmark School of Photography about my pursuit of photography and sharing stories. Their encouragement helped me take steps to build this site and enter the contest.

I shared with some friends about wanting to buy an editing software but I didn’t have the money due to my budget. A friend sent me money via paypal to show his support. I ended up getting money over Christmas for the software and asked my friend if I could use his contribution towards my entry fee instead. His “yes” gave me a great deal of courage thinking of the possibilities that lay before me with this contest.

It took, what I felt like a really long time to hear back about the results. I checked my e-mail at least once a day looking for an update in hopes of reading good news. About three weeks of this and I saw a new e-mail notification pop up on my phone. I was in my car getting ready to go to my house when I saw the subject line of the new email: “Winner in the Sundial Film Festival.” My face and attitude immediately changed with the addition of a great big cheesy smile forced to the surface by the feeling of excitement that I had actually won something. I was on my way home to nap because I wasn’t feeling good. So the news at that moment was great timing. I went home, read the email aloud to my friend I was with and relaxed on my bed with a smile.

I learned from the e-mail that I needed to print and frame my image to have it hung in the Cascade Theater. Again, I’m sticking to a pretty strict budget currently and thought, “I don’t know how this is going to happen. Not in the budget.” I called my mom to tell her of the news and she shared her excitement for me. I mentioned that I need to print and frame my image and that I thought it was going to be around $65, give a little, to make it happen. I also told her about it not being in “the budget.” She told me that she could pay for it if I needed help. I appreciated her offer and thought about it.

Holy Spirit has a good way of making me uncomfortable when I’m supposed to forgo the opportunity that was presented to me and wait on him for another. It’s a good uncomfortable. It feels like “Oooooooooo, nope. There is another way to blessing.” That doesn’t mean it’s always easy to trust though.

I was at a friends house a couple days later. I told her about my budget, my mom’s offer and the feeling that there was another way that I didn’t know of. In that conversation I felt my heart fully trust him in this situation and I let it go and told her “I have no idea how this is going to happen. I have a week left to order the print, frame it and turn it in.” About 30-45 minutes later we finished eating some lunch and my friend got on her facebook. She saw a post from one of her friends saying they needed someone to clean their unfurnished house the next day, Friday, and that they were moving in on Saturday. They would be paying the person $100. She looked at me and asked if I want her to share my contact information. I said, “I cleaned houses in college for extra money, heck yes, I’ll do it.”

Turns out Teri, the mom of the family, felt that God told her she would be resting during their move from Washington to Northern California. After she heard this, she was packing for their move and tore something in her knee. She literally couldn’t do anything for the move so she put her need on on facebook. She had to be taken to the hospital because her knee swelled up to the size of a softball. The doctors told her that she would be having surgery the day that she was going to clean.

Father does good things, all the time. God is good and in a really good mood. After some prayer the swelling in Teri’s knee decreased significantly. Enough to make the doctors change their mind about her needing surgery, even after they had prepped her!

God showed himself, again, as provider and healer all in a simple story of life.

The Story Behind the Image:
My team and I were on our way to the San Francisco Airport enroute to Zimbabwe. Our leader asked that the interns and alumni of the group pray for the 1st and 2nd years. I prayed for a couple of them and walked to the back of the bus where Jon was. I looked at him and thought, “Man, there is going to be a sound that comes out of him that is going to seriously release change in the location we will be in.” So I prayed for him and looked him straight in the eyes and said, “There is a sound in you that is going to be released. I don’t know what it is but something is going to come out of you and it’s going to release something that will change the atmosphere.” My trip leader was behind me and confirmed to me what I told him. She said she told him that as well and he had received that from someone else also. I was looking forward to seeing what that looked like.

About 3-4 days into the trip we had a meeting at night. We all gathered and prayed for the city we were in and the people we were there to encourage and do some teachings for. We prayed for the land and people of Zimbabwe to be restored to one another in shalom (peace). Zimbabwe is known as being the peaceful nation that people in southern countries of Africa would flee to when there was turmoil in their own nation. All of a sudden it was like Jon connected to the heart of God and the heart of the people at the same time. It was phenomenal. This was the moment when the prayers over him would manifest in reality. It was a moment of what felt like a very thin place where you would take your shoes off to see what was transpiring though this man that loves Jesus with all of his heart. His tears poured from his heart for the nation to return to its rightful state of peace and abundance. I was in awe as I had never seen anything like it. Nor had I been a past part of a current moment like this. He let out a sound that was felt by everyone in the room and literally changed the atmosphere of where we were.

A few days later we had an adventure traveling though an African safari. I rode two elephants bareback … that was amazing!
I was standing in the bed of a small truck with six or seven others, including Jon. We rode in the back bouncing around with nothing to cover our heads for shade, as the African sun beat down on our skin. We traveled around a green, lush piece of land that is being used to restore the wild animal population. It was our groups turn to see the lion and lioness. We each sat up against a wooden pole infront of the lion that was laying down to get our turn for what would be our first experience up close with a lion … in Africa. Jon sat down and at first he got a little too close. We all freaked out and told him to lean up against the pole instead.

I saw it before it happened. The lioness was aggravating the lion as it seemed like he wanted to lay and enjoy the sun. There were a couple of people taking shots of Jon for him. I saw the lion getting aggravated and I knew he was going to let out a roar. I quickly squatted down in between two of my teammates, said excuse me, as they were not taking pictures any more and clicked once at the perfect moment. Capturing moments that are rarely to return and probably won’t happen again is a big reason why I’m passionate about photography. I stood up looked at the image on the back of my camera and shouted, “Yes!” with an expressive fist pump.

Tracy, the woman who’s organization we were with, was right next to me and she knows my photography work. She was the first person to ask to see it. I clicked on my camera’s buttons to retrive the image and cupped my hand around it so she could see it in a bit of shade. Her only response was, “Isn’t that prophetic.” in a way only she can respond. I knew exactly what she ment and her tone was perfect as the words came from her mouth. I hadn’t even thought of Jon’s time a couple nights before until she said that. My insides leaped with joy as the realization of what she said clicked in my heart.

This image is a representation of the heart of God though Jon. I am honored and humbled to have been able to capture this kairos moment.

Thank you Jon for loving Jesus well and living out who you are, a son of a good and perfect Father.

Here is the image that won Best Novice Action Photograph and People’s Choice.
I also want to thank everyone who encourages and believes in me and my work! I dedicate my first award to you! :)

jon lion

Sundial Film Festival